Vice and Leadership

I've done some research on world leaders that have and used to have vices, particularly smoking. One trend I've seen is that, most of them are quitting or trying to quit.
  • September 27, 2008 – Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, admits trying Marijuana during her College years (Source: The Australian)
  • November 6, 2009 – Prime Minister David Cameron, on God and quitting smoking. He reportedly quit (Source: Wall Street Journal)
  • April 21, 2010 – President Bashar al-Assad, a qualified medical doctor decrees ban on smoking. His regime is now embroiled in a civil war (Source: BBC)
  • February 9, 2011 – The Telegraph reports that Barack Obama has quit smoking after 30 years. (Source: Telegraph) *Here's a fake video of him buying cigarettes (lol)
  • November 24, 2012 – President Aquino of the Philippines ignores call to quit smoking. *Tsk tsk. Our president.. (Source:
  • December 14, 2012 – Kim Jong Un, celebrates North Korean rocket launch with a cigarette (Source: Telegraph). *Typical.
  • February 25, 2013 – Vladimir Putin, signs law banning smoking in Public in Russia (Source: BBC) *I have not seen a single picture of him on Google, smoking.
  • May 18, 2013 – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, gets caught on camera using crack cocaine. (Source: Gawker)

"Mr. President, North Korea just launched a nuclear missile from its East coast." The President nods, and for a split second, thoughts of smoking enter his head like a wispy ghost. 

Of course, we all know that smoking for many is a coping mechanism. Stress, is one of its causes. 

At this stage in history, we are way past debates on whether world leaders should smoke cigarettes or not. While their personal opinions on smoking, habits or preferences are solely theirs to have and make, their personal health is a public matter

Their ability to lead is a public matter. 

A sound body, makes for a sound mind, and a sound mind makes for sound decisions. 

Leaders are accountable to us, the citizenry who voted for them. 

Our leaders, owe it to us to ensure that they are healthy. To end this post, I'd like to quote Barack Obama – right after smoking legislation was passed when queried about his personal habits.

"OBAMA: Well, first of all the new law that was put in place is not about me, it's about the next generation of kids coming up. So I think it's fair, Margaret, to just say that you just think it's neat to ask me about my smoking as opposed to if — being relevant to my new law. But that's fine. I understand. It's an interesting human interest story. Look. I've said before that as a former smoker, I constantly struggle with it. Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No. I don't do it in front of my kids. I don't do it in front of my family. You know, I would say that I am 95 percent cured, but there are times where — there are times when I mess up. And I've said this before. I get this question about once every month or so. And I don't know what to tell you other than the fact that, you know, like folks who go to AA, you know, once you've gone down this path, then it's something you continually struggle with. Which is precisely why the legislation we signed was so important. Because what we don't want is kids going down that path in the first place."

(Source: Huffington Post July 24, 2009



Creative Commons Image on Flickr via Stevendepolo

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